The day we decided to move in was a day of celebration and victory. We had found an apartment in the city. A real, three bedroom, beautiful old apartment. An apartment with a driveway! A backyard! A dishwasher! Fresh out of college and unemployed, we were fearless and determined to make it work. It was all part of the plan. We rented a U-Haul that August 1st. Unaware that the rental was from 9-3 only, we showed up at the U-Haul center at 1:45pm. We thought that 9-3 was the window of time that we could show up to pick it up and then return it whenever. As Bob, the rental manager explained, we were actually 5 hours late for our rental and only had a little over an hour left to move. After he explained that U-Haul meant WE-HAUL, I was nominated to drive the truck as the three of us piled in. We had officially begun our new life in the city.
Tomorrow will be the second time a U-Haul pulls up to our home. Understand that this is a day I have been planning for quite some time. I have been praying and hoping this day would come. A day I thought I was ready for only one short year after we moved in. My plan was to just live there for a year and then move on and start my life. You know, my real life. Four years later, and it is finally happening. I never understood the meaning of bittersweet until I started to pack my things this week. I am thrilled about my new home and I spend every waking second looking up furniture, DIY ideas, containers and curtains. I envision my future family and kids, my wedding, my real life. I have been waiting for so long for my real life to begin. I wish the years of my life away to a fault, waiting for better ones ahead. But as I move through my house this week I have found myself standing in each room and my breath catches in my throat as I remember the years that I now leave behind.
I stand in my living room remembering the day we got the landline. I stand in my dining room remembering the night we stood up on the window seat and danced. I stand in the kitchen remembering the morning we woke up to a burnt stuffed animal in the microwave. I find myself walking out the front door for work, remembering the summer nights that were spent drinking wine on those purple stairs. I stand in the hallway remembering the summer days that I walked through the door after job interviews, collapsing in their arms in tears. I find myself brushing my teeth at night, remembering the countless hours that have been spent with all three of us in that tiny bathroom. I find myself appreciating every moment that was spent in this house. Finally understanding that all of these moments were my real life.
They say you don’t recognize the most important moments of your life when they are happening and that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. I have been making plans to move out since the day we moved in, and now I just want to rewind. I want to go back and live it all over again so I don’t forget how fortunate I really am.
I have a vision of my own child’s graduation party 25 years from now. I see myself, standing with these girls, talking away, wine in hand. As my daughter is identifying everyone at the party to her friends, I hear her say, “My mom lived with those ladies for like, four years.” What nobody will ever understand is that we didn’t just live together, we grew together. And that is something that I, the planner, never planned.
So thank you, girls. For being such a beautiful chapter in my REAL LIFE.